K.B. Kolster Brandes

Kolster Brandes, generally shortened to KB, started in the UK as Brandes in about 1924. Initially they were producing radio accessories such as loudspeakers and headphones, and were sufficiently successful to require larger premises by 1928, when their works at Footscray, Kent was established. In 1930 the company gained the name Kolster Brandes as a result of changes at their parent company, ITT (of America). KB were now involved in the construction of complete receivers, and enjoyed notable success having gained a contract to make small bakelite receivers that were given away by a tobacco company in exchange for coupons. The company continue to do well, and although not one of the radio "big names", enjoyed significant success with their range of receivers throughout the 1930's. 

 

Pictured above is the KB Rejectostat model 666B receiver from 1933. I've given this radio a bigger picture than usual, because the cabinet of this receiver is so exceptional. The 666 series radio was available in two forms, first in a fairly anonymous walnut veneered cabinet with black bakelite knobs and escutcheon. The speaker was mounted behind a diamond cut-out in the cabinet, the whole effect was rather bland. However, if the customer was prepared to pay extra they could have the receiver in the cabinet shown. It was designed by Betty Joel, one of the more prominent Art Deco influenced designers of the day. As you can see there is chrome everywhere: chrome hexagonal knobs, tuning escutcheon, speaker cloth bars, and all that cabinet edging. In total there are 19 pieces of chrome-plated metal that make-up the cabinet. The cabinet is Queensland walnut veneer. The standard cabinets were made at KB's own works at Footscray, but the Betty Joel cabinets were made by specialist cabinet-maker, Holmes Bros of Walthamstow. The cabinet is quite large too, at more than 2 foot long and also expensive. The basic model cost 16.16.0, and the chrome plated model would have cost something in the order of about 19. The receiver is a 5 valve plus rectifier superhet, utilising valves from little known manufacturer Micromesh. Valve line-up is 9A1, 8A1, 9A1, 11A2, 7A2, R2. The receiver operated on LW and MW only, but it was possible to buy a short wave converter that plugged into a socket at the rear of the cabinet. These receivers are rather rare today, most households simply couldn't afford to pay that extra premium on an already expensive receiver for the chrome detailing. 

Continue for the K.B. BR30T with its piercing magic eye!

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